New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

“Right smack dab in the middle of town”

Posted July 2nd, 2014 by Darren Stevenson with 11 Comments

brolly worksHi my name is Darren and this is my first blog for Birmingham Conservation Trust. You might recognise the title as lyrics from the song ‘Up of the Roof – relevant because I am a roofer and when I am working in Birmingham on various heritage sites I will be photographing and taking notes.

I hope to show a different side of Birmingham and its rich heritage, one that the majority do not get to see. To capture the unseen side of this City – the angles from above, corners and the faded facades where the moss and weeds have started their own development projects and where the litter mingles without fines.

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View from the roof of The Brolly Works

The Brolly Works (pictured above) is a former umbrella factory which was converted into apartments in 2008. It is a grade II listed building situated on Allison Street in Digbeth. Built 1872, adapted in 1923 until a clothing factory and later in 1975 to a crisp factory.

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Views from the roof of The Brolly Factory onto Digbeth and Allison Street

Although an interesting building itself with an interesting history, its rooftop views work as the house seats to the theatre of city life past and present, looking directly onto Digbeth and the newly championed East Side. Up here on the roof the contrast between new and old becomes even more apparent highlighting the character of the buildings side by side, as does the transformation of the City – ever changing. My job is not the hardest in the world nor the easiest, definitely not the cleanest and at times as with everyone the dirt and grime get us down but when we pause to take a breath that is when it clicks – the images of perfect horizons, the architecture glistening in the sun or shining from the rainfall. Allowing the chance to see all of these angles open up into a different view of the same City, out of sight for many; it makes the dirt and grime worthwhile. Like most things we do day in day out these things seem to pass us by but can we afford not to take a closer look?

As I don’t always work in the City Centre this blog may not be frequent but in the pauses I hope to post pictures of past projects that I have worked on.

 

 

11 Responses to ““Right smack dab in the middle of town””

  1. Emma October 27, 2014

    Oh my Darren Stevenson..what a blast from the past! Hope you are well 🙂 Emma
    Fantastic blog by the way!!

    Reply

  2. People's Park Friends July 3, 2014

    Nice blog, and would like to mention the roof as a sustainable heritage case for renewables – lighting, water, solar and green roofs contribute to regeneration and sustainable conservation planning.

    Reply

    • Darren July 4, 2014

      Hi ,goods ideas especially water .

      Reply

  3. Joe Turner July 3, 2014

    Hi Darren, what a fantastic idea and a great read. Hopefully some places with interesting views will need roofing soon!

    Reply

    • Darren July 4, 2014

      Hi joe , thanks very much.

      Reply

  4. Ronnie Cruwys July 2, 2014

    Darren, this is a brilliant idea for a blog. You have such a great vantage point and a keen eye to capture things that make a building unique. Love the detail on the carved masonry and the variety of the roofscapes. Oh, and Simon’s right, thats poetry you are writing…if not then lyrics!

    Reply

    • Darren July 2, 2014

      Thank you Ronnie

      Reply

  5. Rosstobo July 2, 2014

    Fabulous blog Darren , fabulous work ! Proud of people like you , you are inspirational !

    Reply

    • Darren July 2, 2014

      Thank you

      Reply

  6. Simon Buteux July 2, 2014

    Fantastic blog, Darren. Great pictures but even greater text: “faded facades where the moss and weeds have started their own development projects and where the litter mingles without fines.” – that’s poetry. Can’t wait for your next one!

    Reply

    • Darren July 2, 2014

      Thanks for the kind words Simon

      Reply

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